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Wet vs Dry Dog Food: Which to Choose for Your Dog?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Regardless of your pup’s taste preferences, navigating the world of dog food can be a challenge. Each life stage comes with unique dietary needs and restrictions. Large and small breeds require very different vitamins and nutrients for optimal health. Plus, recent concerns regarding the relationship between grain-free diets and the risk of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) have raised even more questions about which food is best.

Despite all of this, one of the hardest decisions for any owner is choosing between wet vs. dry dog food. Do you know which is right for your dog?

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Wet vs. Dry Dog Food: Does It Matter What You Choose?

wet vs dry dog food
Left: Dry Food, Right: Wet Food, Credit: Pixabay

Many dog owners, especially those with picky eaters, just feed whatever their dogs will eat. But there’s a lot more to picking the best dog food for your pooch than hunting down the tastiest option.

Dog food generally comes in two varieties: wet and dry. Wet food can range from pâté to whole pieces of meat and vegetables. While dry food is almost always just plain kibble, some brands have started including freeze-dried meat and other supplemental pieces for better taste and nutrition.

In the end, it’s all just food, right? Well, yes and no. Depending on your dog and its personal health concerns, choosing between wet vs. dry dog food could have a major impact.

Why You Should Feed Your Dog Wet Food

Aside from personal preference, there are quite a few reasons why wet dog food could be the superior choice.


First and foremost, wet dog food contains much more water than dry food. While this fact is pretty obvious based on the name alone, many dog owners overlook the benefits that come with wet food’s extra moisture content.

If you’re concerned about your pup’s water intake, especially if you and your four-legged companion live in an extremely hot or dry climate, then wet dog food offers some additional peace-of-mind when it comes to proper hydration.

Wet Dog Food
Image Credit By: monika1607, pixabay

Weight management

Open a can of wet dog food in front of almost any pooch, and they’re sure to get excited. Because of this, many dog owners think that wet food isn’t as healthy for their pet as dry food. For dogs who struggle to keep their weight in check, though, wet food offers higher satiation for fewer calories.

While your dog might be able to scarf down bowl after bowl of dry food, the higher water content in wet food means they can’t eat as much. So, switching to wet food can be a great strategy for keeping Fido at a healthy weight.

Of course, you should always consult your veterinarian before putting your dog on a diet of any kind!

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Softer texture

Unfortunately, dogs are prone to all types of dental and jaw issues. If your best friend has trouble chewing their kibble, then wet food is an excellent alternative.

Some dogs have trouble eating dry food their entire lives, but this is especially common as they reach senior status. As your dog ages, be sure to keep an eye on their dental health and appetite and ask your vet about switching to a canned food if dry food is causing discomfort.

Better flavor

The smell and flavor of wet food tend to get most dogs pretty excited about mealtime! If your dog is a notoriously picky eater, then switching to a rich and flavorful wet food can help prevent malnutrition.

If your dog is showing signs of decreased appetite, however, don’t just assume that they’ve lost interest in their kibble. Many health conditions can cause a loss of appetite. Before making the switch to wet food, schedule an appointment with your vet to make sure everything is okay.

Wet Dog Food in a Bowl
Image Credit By: kalhh, pixabay

More protein

On average, wet dog food contains more animal protein than comparable dry food. Dogs often benefit from vegetables and other ingredients, but they are generally omnivores.

  • Higher water content
  • Fewer calories per ounce on average
  • More filling than dry food
  • Higher percentage of animal protein
  • More appetizing than kibble
  • Easier to eat for dogs with dental issues

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Reasons Why Dry Food Is a Great Choice

Dry Dog Food in Jar
Image Credit By: sweetlouise, pixabay

With all of those benefits, it’s obvious that wet food is the better option, right? Not exactly! While canned dog food features a softer texture, more moisture, and fewer calories, dry food offers quite a few benefits of its own.

Cleaner teeth

Although dogs with dental problems often struggle to eat dry food, the hard texture can actually help keep your furry friend’s teeth clean. If your dog’s teeth are strong and healthy, then regularly feeding dry food can help remove tartar, plaque, and other buildup on their teeth and gums.

While all dry food will help clean your dog’s teeth, some brands are specially formulated to be even more effective at removing buildup and debris.

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More affordable

While your pooch certainly doesn’t care how much you spend on their food, many dog owners are working with a limited budget. When it comes down to it, dry food is almost always more affordable than wet food.

However, cost should never be the final deciding factor when choosing between wet vs. dry dog food. Or any food for that matter. Your dog’s nutritional needs should always come first.


If you leave your dog’s food out throughout the day, then canned food might not be a viable option. Instead, dry food can sit out all day without needing to worry about spoilage or attracting flies and other unwanted pests!

Dry Dog Food in Bowl
Image Credit By: kalhh, pixabay

Good for training

If you’re like most dog owners, you feed your pet out of a normal bowl or dish. Sometimes, though, that’s just too boring! With kibble, you can take advantage of tools like puzzle feeders or even scatter your dog’s food around the room. This can turn a normal meal into an engaging puzzle.

Many dog trainers also encourage using regular kibble as a training reward. You can reward tricks and good behavior with pieces of dry food, just like you would use treats.

  • Scrapes away plaque, tartar, and other dental buildup
  • Can be left out throughout the day
  • More affordable than canned food
  • Long shelf life
  • Versatile option for puzzles and training
  • Hard to chew for dogs with dental issues
  • Higher calories per ounce on average
  • Very low moisture content
  • Less animal-based protein than canned food

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The Right Diet for Your Best Friend

So, which type of food is best for your dog? That ultimately depends on a variety of factors, including your lifestyle, budget, and your dog’s health.

For the average dog, the best diet consists of both wet and dry dog food. Feeding both types of food allows you to take advantage of their benefits while counteracting the drawbacks of each variety. Plus, your pooch will appreciate not eating the same thing for every single meal!

If your dog cannot eat both wet and dry dog food, then we recommend speaking with your vet to ensure they’re getting all of the required nutrients from their diet.

Also, you may need to take some steps to combat the drawbacks of feeding only one type of food. For example, you’ll need to provide a constant source of clean water if your dog only eats kibble, and you may need to clean your dog’s teeth more regularly if they only eat canned food.

With a little planning, you’ll have yourself a healthy, happy, and well-fed pup!

Feature Image Credit: Pixabay

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